Hurricanes and Climate Change: Huge Dangers, Huge Unknowns, Dr.Jeff Masters
‘While Climate Criminals jet round the globe and drive 4X4 Hummers spewing CO2 and causing Climate Chaos it’s people like those on SAMAR ISLAND who are their innocent victims.”
Typhoon Yolanda/Haiyan: what really alarms Filipinos is the rich world ignoring climate change
As Haiyan batters the Phillipines, the political elites at the UN climate talks will again leave poor countries to go it alone
I met Naderev Saño last year in Doha, when the world’s governments were meeting for the annual UN climate talks.
The chief negotiator of the Filipino delegation was distraught. Typhoon Bopha, a category five “super-typhoon” with 175mph winds (282km/h) had just ripped through the island of Mindanao. It was the 16th major storm of the year, hundreds of thousands of people had lost their homes and more than 1,000 had died. Saño and his team knew well the places where it had hit the hardest.
“Each destructive typhoon season costs us 2% of our GDP, and the reconstruction costs a further 2%, which means we lose nearly 5% of our economy every year to storms. We have received no climate finance to adapt or to prepare ourselves for typhoons and other extreme weather we are now experiencing. We have not seen any money from the rich countries to help us to adapt … We cannot go on like this. It cannot be a way of life that we end up running always from storms,” he said. He later told the assembly: “Climate change negotiations cannot be based on the way we currently measure progress. It is a clear sign of planetary and economic and environmental dysfunction … The whole world, especially developing countries struggling to address poverty and achieve social and human development, confronts these same realities.
“I speak on behalf of 100 million Filipinos, not as a leader of my delegation, but as a Filipino …” At this point he broke down.
Saño was uncontactable today, because phone lines to Manila were down, but he was thought to be on his way to Warsaw for the UN talks, which resume on Monday. This time, with uncanny timing, his country has been battered by the even stronger super-typhoon Haiyan, one of the most powerful ever recorded anywhere – 25 miles (40km) wide and reaching astonishing speeds of possibly 200mph (322km/h).
We don’t yet know the death toll or damage done, but we do know that the strength of tropical storms such as Haiyan or Bopha is linked to sea temperature. As the oceans warm with climate change, there is extra energy in the system. Storms may not be increasing in frequency but Pacific ocean waters are warming faster than expected, and there is a broad scientific consensus that typhoons are now increasing in strength.
Typhoon Haiyan, like Bopha, will be seen widely in developing countries as a taste of what is to come, along with rising sea levels and water shortages. But what alarms the governments of vulnerable countries the most is that they believe rich countries have lost the political will to address climate change at the speed needed to avoid catastrophic change in years to come.
From being top of the global political agenda just four years ago, climate change is now barely mentioned by the political elites in London or Washington, Tokyo or Paris. Australia is not even sending a junior minister to Warsaw. The host, Poland, will be using the meeting to celebrate its coal industry. The pitifully small pledges of money made by rich countries to help countries such as the Philippines or Bangladesh to adapt to climate change have barely materialised. Meanwhile, fossil fuel subsidies are running at more than $500bn (£311bn) a year, and vested commercial interests are increasingly influencing the talks.
As the magnitude of the adverse impacts of human-induced climate change becomes apparent, the most vulnerable countries say they have no option but to go it alone. The good news is that places such as Bangladesh, Nepal, the small island states of the Pacific and Caribbean, and many African nations, are all starting to adapt their farming, fishing and cities.
But coping with major storms, as well as sea level rise and water shortages, is expected to cost poor countriues trillions of dollars, which they do not have. “Time is running out,” Saño told the world last year. “Please, let this year be remembered as the year the world found the courage to take responsibility for the future we want. I ask of all of us here, if not us, then who? If not now, then when? If not here, then where?”
We reprint below a post from after the Bopha disaster last year….
Could Oil Companies be Sued for Climate Massacre?
As they become more common, climate related disasters may allow prosecution of the big Oil Companies, which they could be sued for billions for willfully dumping CO2 in the air for profit, with clean alternatives available.
You cannot say that one climate massacre is caused only by climate change, but statistically we know that they are. Just as a child with thyroid cancer living next to Fukushima may have contracted it by chance, but if the cancer rate has increased 1000%, then nine out of ten victims are caused by the Nuclear meltdown.
To take that analogy further, if ten possible victims of Climate Chaos sued Exxon, nine of them could be real victims, only we can’t say which nine….
And in many cases the evidence is clear. Super Typhoon Bhopa/Pablo for instance, which massacred hundreds and caused unbelievable damage in a few hours, was I believe the first ever Category 5 Typhoon in known history to hit the Phillipines. And in December, when the season is finishing. WHY? One of the many variables is key.. the SST Sea Surface Temperature was still way over 30C for thousands of miles around! And that is being pinned down with overwhelming evidence to Climate Change.
The possibility is growing that innocent victims, like those who survived in Mindanao, could take a class action Law Suit in the United States against the Oil and Coal companies, for willfully dumping CO2 in our atmosphere for profit (they have known the problem since the 1980s). One aim would be to force the ‘ruling’ Corporations to take the problem seriously if its not already too late.
To win such an action we would need to prove at least the following:
1) That the actions of these Climate Criminals is willfull. That they have known what they were doing for decades. There is ample evidence of this I think.
2) To prove that they have deliberately covered up evidence and sabotaged climate mitigation in a sustained and highly financed campaign. This evidence is gradually leaking out and seems like a true scandal.
4) To show that the corporations had green alternatives they actively and knowingly suppressed or chose to ignore. There is ample evidence also of this. We have plenty of cheap renewable energy available., ( another scandal is the existence of Green 100% CO2-free ‘gasoline’, cars can easily be adapted to run on cheap pollution free ammonia, see blog here http://co2freefuelexistsnow.wordpress.com/ )
But of course Climate Change victims are the poor, women and kids, country people, etc, and are even more destitute and helpless after a disaster. A Court Case for Climate Damage in the US could only work if it were sponsored by Climate Change Mitigation and Divestment campaigns in that country.
- 11th Nov 2013 just a few days later another ‘worst in history’ storm
- Rare tropical storm kills 100 in Somalia
Tropical Storm Three in the Arabian Sea made landfall in Somalia, Africa on Sunday, bringing sustained winds of 45 mph to the coast and heavy rains inland. The rains triggered flash floods that killed about 100 people, said President Abdirahman Mohamud Farole. According to the International Disaster Database, EM-DAT, this is the deadliest tropical cyclone in Somalia’s history, tied with Tropical Cyclone ARB04 of 1994. According to the International Best Track Archive of storm tracks, only four other tropical storms have hit Somalia since accurate satellite measurements began in 1966: Tropical Cyclone Murjan of 2012, Tropical Cyclone ARB04 of 1994, Tropical Cyclone 12A of 1994, and Tropical Cyclone 4B of 1984.
- Hurricanes and Climate Change: Huge Dangers, Huge Unknowns, Dr.Jeff Masters
- Climate Justice for Phillipines http://350.org/about/blogs/climate-justice-philippines
- Will Philippines negotiator’s tears change our course on climate change? | John Vidal (guardian.co.uk)
- Worst storm Ever, Yolanda gusts 380 kph, to hit Poorest Islands
- Climate Chaos to cause #Bopha /Pablo. Oil Companies to be Sued ??
- Demand CO2-free gasoline It exists NOW http://co2freefuelexistsnow.wordpress.com/
- Poor countries demand action at UN climate talks (utsandiego.com)
- Exxon Hates Your Children (ecowatch.org)
- Super Typhoon BOPHA with 275kph winds to hit Philippines.. update (thefreeonline.wordpress.com)
Super Typhoon Bopha (Pablo) to destroy Village..photo
A Storm Brews in Doha (ipsnews.net)
Global Warming’s Terrifying New Math
Fracking for ‘tight oil’..huge toxic boom in US.
report: London Buses could be CO2 and pollution free. For $37.5m with NH3.
new book: Imperiled Life, Revolution against Climate Catastrophe.